Wednesday 22 May 2024
 14.4°C   SE Gentle Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

News / Roddick presses for early changes to new free bus travel scheme for young people

Journeys on Shetland's inter-island ferries are currently not included in the new free bus travel scheme for young people. Photo: Shetland News.

HIGHLANDS and Islands list MSP Emma Roddick has vowed to continue her fight to convince her own government that ferry journeys should be included in the new concession scheme that allows young people free bus travel from the end of January.

Local politicians have described the scheme as “discriminatory” and at odds with government policy, after an islands impact assessment concluded that ferries should not be included.

According to government agency Transport Scotland the issue of concessionary schemes for ferries would form part of a ‘fair fares’ review.

Emma Roddick MSP.

Roddick, who won the SNP’s only list MSP seat in the Highlands and Islands at last year’s election, said that in her view the reasoning of the impact assessment did not add up.

She said that particularly for people living in the outer isles ferries are the equivalent of buses and should therefore be included in the scheme that gives everyone under 22 free bus travel.

Roddick said young people should not be disadvantaged for living in island communities.

She has now written to transport minister Graeme Dey asking him to re-consider.

“There are a lot of misconceptions around how vital ferries are for many, especially in the outer islands,” she told Shetland News.

“My position that, for some young people, ferries are the equivalent of buses on mainland Scotland, remains the same.

“I have written again to the minister for transport to ask if the inclusion of inter-island ferries in the free bus travel scheme can be reconsidered in future to make the policy fairer for young islanders, especially considering the fact that we are trying to encourage people to stay and work in these communities.”

Under a similar concession scheme for those aged 60 and over (bus pass), and 16 to 18 year old YoungScot card holders, are entitled to two free return journeys on board the NorthLink ferries a year. Journeys on the inter island ferries for those aged 60 and over are not free. Bus pass holders are entitled to a reduced OAP  fare.

The scheme, a key policy of the Scottish Greens when they joined the current government partnership, will come into force on 31 January.

The application process for the entitlement cards is now open. More details about how to apply can be found here.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.

 

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.